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Merriam Webster defines mishmash as “a confused mixture of things.”

I can’t think of a better word to describe the 2016 fall fashion trends.

Maybe the colors and combinations of patterns and wardrobe items replicate our confused times. Some of the now popular colors of the season are often associated with spring. Perhaps, the pinks and lavenders reflect our need for calm and peace, while other current fashionable ones, red-oranges and mustard yellow, scream of anger or unrest.

It seemed to me the big differences between what was fashionable in 2015 and in 2016 is the weird combination of pieces and the colors.

Certainly, ladies-of-a-certain-age know they must come up with their own sense of contemporary fashion, because images of older women do not appear on retailers’ websites or ads – even those retailers who have a large marketing share of women older than 50.  Ladies-of-a-certain-age have a keen sense of discernment for what styles are appropriate for our stage of life.  Oddly, our market demographic is one of the nation’s wealthiest.

Frankly, these are the reasons I write a fashion report each spring and fall.  Also, I get a good chuckle out of what I see.  The most fun I had this go round was considering chopping up all of my old blue jeans and reconstructing them with odd patches of material from my sewing chest and throwing in a bit of lace.  My 8-year-old fashion diva granddaughter would want me to make her a pair, too.  She would look darling in them.  I think I would wear them for Halloween if I dressed up like a clown.

Below is a summary of current fashion trends and colors and nail colors and art. I follow the fashion trends with my list of suggested fashion items for ladies-of-a-certain-age and items in my closet.  A rundown of several popular retailers I reviewed wraps up the report.

I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you share your comments in the comment section.

Summary of 2016 Fall Fashion Trends and Colors –

Documented by these web sites –



 Fashion Trends

Graphic and paisley tops and tunics

Military pants

Boots – army, construction or heavy leather hiking boots

Purses – oversized shoulder bag or graphic tote – loud colors

“Reconstructed jeans”

Bohemian (hippy) long dresses and skirts

Baggy logo sweats

Shearling jackets

Tethered, tied, linked (laces, whip stitches, metal links)

“Pumpkin Pie Spice Color”

This Lady-of-a-Certain-Age 2016 Fall Fashion Suggestions

Blue jeans – a style that makes you happy.

(My choice is a mid-rise, slim leg from Land’s End.  I own three pair.  They are the staple in my wardrobe, like black slacks were when I worked.)

Long full tops, shirts and tunics.   They continue to be popular and very good to hide the bulges and lumps we have garnered with over a half decade of living. Popular paisley and geometric patterns can camouflage less than perfectly flat abdomens and ribcages; however, when the pattern is too loud or large they expand figures and can cause eye sore.

(I already have six of these tops in my closet from last year: gray-stripped, green, red corduroy, merlot paisley, and denim shirts and a gray heather knit top and plum tunic. I am considering a purple, plum, gray and blue tunic from J. Jill.  Even on sale, it seems a little expensive, though.)

Pointed flats – the 2016 version is not as extreme at the 1966 one –and rounded toe flats.  Flats are premier for ladies-of-a-certain-age who have “cut their bunions” on heels for decades.

(For many years, the black Bandolino flats in my closet have been a pleasure to wear.  I am considering some plum suede pointed flats because they bring me “joy” and I am tired of those black flats.  Good shoes last a long time.)

Boots – all types are still in style.  The good news for ladies-of-a-certain-age is low heels are fine and leather hiking boots look great with jeans.

(My leather hiking boots are a good 15 years old and last year prevented many a slippery fall on ice and snow as I scampered off to my yoga classes.)

Long necklace – silver chain or rope.  They look great with the longer popular tops.

(I have two on ropes I’ve had for years.  It is fun to look at consignment and thrift shops for jewelry.  You never know what you will find.  Some of my favorite necklaces have come from Target. I’ll take a look there, but I don’t like to buy, just to buy.)

A fun shoulder purse or tote. Shoulder straps are ladies-of-a-certain-age best friends because hands and wrists are free to grab on a banister, hold a cane ore recapture your balance.

(I love my expensive leather branded purses I have had for years; but they just don’t seem to fit in well with my relaxed retirement living.  When a purse with a shoulder strap “grabs me,” I am going to buy it.)

Fashion Colors

Documented by this web site –


The Pantone name is listed followed by my interpretation in parenthesis.

“The desire for tranquility, strength, and optimism have inspired a Fall 2016 color palette that is led by the Blue family. Along with anchoring earth tones, exuberant pops of vibrant colors also appear throughout the collections. Transcending gender, these unexpectedly vivacious colors in our Fall 2016 palette act as playful but structured departures from your more typical fall shades.

Blue skies represent constancy as they are always above us. Grays give a feeling of stability, Red tones invite confidence and warmth, while the hot Pinkish Purples and Spicy Mustard Yellows suggest a touch of the exotic.” Leatrice Eiseman Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute

Airy blue (light blue)

Riverside (medium blue)

Sharkskin (medium gray)

Aurora Red (orange-red)

Warm Taupe (violet – taupe)

Dusty Cider (grayed rose)

Lush Meadow (blue green)

Spicy Mustard (darkish yellow brown)

Potter’s Clay (yellow brown)

Bodacious (light purple)

Nail Colors and Nail Art

Documented by these web sites –



Burnished chocolate olive

Deep aubergine – purple/eggplant

Perfect taupe

Garnet –

Medium gray with a little olive green

Copper pink

Slate purple

Dark gray with a little blue in it

Muted petal pink

Blue green

Stores Visited (in person and\or via web) for This Report

J. Jill – pleasant, light not loud.  Sales clerks helpful and knowledgeable. Colors of blues, greens, grays and purples are predominant.  Too bad models on their web site and ad materials do not reflect their large market of ladies-of-a-certain-age. Although more expensive than most of the stores reviewed, I believe the extra cost is worth the attention, style and serene environment.

Chico’s – Edgy, big  Lots of bold prints, animal prints, orange-red colors, hippy jewelry. Too bad models on their web site and ad materials do not reflect their large market of ladies-of-a-certain-age

Ann Taylor – Sorry, Ann, I used to love you and you loved me.  Now that I am a lady-of-a-certain-age I think the mutual attraction no longer exists.  I like being as old as I am, and I certainly don’t want to go back to work! By the way, my bucks are as good as ever and I still love fashion.

J.C. Penney – Went into a store for the first time in ages. I wasn’t sure they were still in business.  It was dark and depressing.  There was lots of people-of-a-certain-age in the store.  None of their clothes grabbed me.  I just wanted to get back into the sunshine. On their web site, only mouths of many of the models were shown.  How weird.

Kohl’s – Both their store and web site were cramped with merchandize all of which seemed on sale.  I got out of both as soon as I could.  One thing I did note is that the prices were less than J. Jill. But, then, they sold lots of other things besides women’s clothing.  I did see a few salespeople.

Dress Barn – After my Kohl’s and Penney’s experience, I felt like I entered a very tranquil garden.  Half of the store is devoted to regular size and the other half to plus size.  While none of the clothes really got my style eye, my eyes were not bombarded with garish prints and designs.  Since I (and many ladies-of-a-certain-age) rarely wear dresses, only a portion of the store was pertinent for my needs.

Lands’ End – They may not be the most stylish, but they do have some style, durability, good customer service and ladies-of-a-certain-age who have loved them for decades.  They were the only retailer that gave a nod towards gray hair.  This season in their catalog and web site the gray haired model seems to be a granny in a night gown with her grandchildren spending the night.  I must say the Sears Stores they are in are as depressing – if not more so – than the Penney’s store I visited. Sure wish they would get their own stores.


Copyright – Elizabeth J. Wheeler, September 3, 2016